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My Five Steps to Re-imagining Your Shelter While Sheltering in Place

Being at home should be a positive experience but if sheltering In place is giving you the Stay at Home Blues, here are some steps to put in motion before it’s lifted.


It’s a fact that attractive, well planned homes are super beneficial to our emotional and physical health, our efficiency, and even our children’s development. I’ve been saying this forever and now we’re seeing it in action: much of your best wellness practices begin at home, whether it’s making yourself a morning green juice or smoothie,  a raw salad for lunch, or pulling out the yoga mat for an hour of stretching. Since you won’t be hitting the gym anytime soon, it will be easy to create a home that supports you if you know how. Studio apartment or penthouse suite…let’s see what can be done to improve your digs so you can get more out of your time while there. 


Designing and furnishing a home is a lot of fun but trust me when I say it’s not as easy as it looks. Just because you have terrific taste and maybe even a generous budget, doesn’t mean you know how to pair things. Most room designs represent a ton of decisions on style, color, scale and a myriad of other details. Those details, or choices will either complement one another or compete. Here are my five steps to Revamping your spaces, while sheltering in place.

  • One room at a time, jot down all the features or items that drain your energy What will be repurposed? What will be discarded? What will be replaced? 

  • One room at a time, jot down the items or features you love. How can you use them in new ways or different places where they’ll be better appreciated? That favorite lamp in the guest room might be stunning in your entry. That armchair in the home office might ‘make’ the living room. I see this a lot with my clients so I know you might have some unmined treasures too.

  • Either in a space planning app such as Chief Architect Room Planner; with elbow grease; or the old fashioned way with pencil and paper, create one best floor plan. Start by placing the largest pieces of furniture first. Place them with considerable thought because everything that follows will be dependent on it. Inother words, if you place the largest pieces such as the sofa and entertainment center wrong in the beginning, the effect will snowball. Always remember that proper space planning transcends mere style trends. Angled furniture never looks or feels right. Repeat that with feeling. I shalt not place my sofa on an angle, nor my area rug.

  • Remove end tables and console tables. Consoles are terribly cumbersome and look awful in my book. Replace them all with simple metal swing arm floor lamps and use the cocktail table for drinks. I only use end tables between accent chairs and armchairs. Seldom if ever next to the sofa. Don’t worry about your floor plan not being exciting. You will add excitement later. Right now you want a floor plan that’s practical, functional, balanced and anchoring. Large scale or ‘anchored’ pieces add balance and stability to your room. Your subconscious mind detects this as permanence and stability. 

  • Rehang artwork, photography, mirrors and framed prints. I prefer to hang framed family portraits in a “gallery like” area such as a stairwell or hallway, or even on a wall in your office, guest rooms or den rather than formal spaces like the living room, dining room or entry but if your space is limited, do what feels right for you. Map out your wall hanging plans like I do by setting them all down on the floor and moving them around to find the most appealing arrangement. This can labor intensive depending on the amount of pictures you have so allow plenty of time, maybe even a few days.

Now that you’ve arranged your furniture and accessories you will have a much better take on what needs to be replaced, repurposed or refurbished. The reason this is important is because as an amateur your eye will see something that annoys you (say a chair) and think it needs to be replaced, when really the problem was the table beside it. My clients often purchase the wrong things prior to calling me. Then they’re stuck with either selling it, giving it away or living with their mistake for ten to twenty years.

By the way, I swear by this process for people who have a lot of furnishings and want to update what they have rather than replace everything. It’s wonderful for newlywed couples combining homes, or anyone moving into a new home.


  • Create your budget and timeline. Include contractor names and other sources. Include bids and project start times. Start a binder with six or seven divider pages marked “invoices”; specifications; and tear sheets.

Now you’re ready to start your design project, after Sheltering in Place is lifted. And this will give you a great boost of energy.


A few more tips.

For small living rooms, choose sofas and chairs without skirts. The bare space under your sofa and chairs allow light to travel beneath them and makes a room feel larger.

Sectional sofas were designed for large living room. Small living rooms, not so much. But many people insist on sectionals regardless of space size. So go for a small sectional, around 102 inches, without skirts.

In large spaces, contrasting colors and finishes make a room feeling cozier/smaller whereas with smaller rooms, choosing pale colors with similar value (lightness to darkness) will visually enlarge a space.

Typical sofa measurements. Loveseat= 70+ inches wide; medium= 80+ inches wide; large = 90+ inches wide; 110 inches+ wide is typically a sectional.

Throw pillow sizes. Small= 18 inches; medium = 20 inches; large = 22 inches. 

My three signature freebies on design, wellness and mastering your mindset, and all my signature online design coaching packages are now available on my newly revamped website at Shiree Segerstrom Design and Wellness.

Live beautifully, eat beautifully.